Let’s be honest, Gus Fairbairn was never going to work as a musician name, was it? Which is why Manchester saxophonist Alabaster DePlume changed his moniker – an apposite choice, given his tendency towards often dressing in a flamboyant style.
Recorded at the Total Refreshment Centre in London over two weeks, with different sets of musicians playing each day, there could be a sense of self-indulgence to the album. Happily, it mostly works beautifully.
Tracks like the rhythmically ticklish Fucking Let Them and Don’t Forget You’re Precious, with swooning gospel vocals curling around DePlume’s purring sax, are like little pockets of resistance, manifestos for jaded music fans.
He skilfully dismantles any fusty corduroy notions of awful hippy jazz by bringing a loose improvisational energy and playfulness to the fore: imagine Pharoah Sanders playing Mort Garson’s Plantasia and you’re halfway there.
But the intensions are serious – as with his friends The Comet Is Coming, he’s politically motivated and stands for positive action. His lyrics are poems asking for change – change in mindsets, the spaces we inhabit and our consciences.
Sure, there are a couple of unwieldy tracks here – Mrs Calamari and Visitors YT15 Krupp Steel Condition Pivot become a little unfocused, but when there are disarming tracks like the delicately spacy Who Is A Fool or the languid, gorgeous Again with Falle Nioke, superlatives – and the room – kind of dissolve in that moment.